I was thinking today about how the look of something often defines what that we think and feel about it. Taking a very simple example – if we see someone who is covered in tattoos we might think they are scary. Or if we see a fish with lots of spikes, fins and bright colours we might think it’s dangerous.
But more than that, we take the look of everything that we see to be one of the main defining factors – probably because sight is the main sense that we rely on, or perhaps the one we use most often.
However, when you think about it, sight is just a sense, and what we “see” isn’t really the object itself, but rather we see an interpretation of the sunlight after it has reflected off the object and then hit the back of our eye.
So, for example, what if we lived in a world without light – we wouldn’t see any of this world. And in fact if light simply didn’t exist, then neither would the way in which we see the world.
So then a tree wouldn’t be a tall, thin, brown trunk with soft green leaves on it- those visions of light would not exist. We’d have to define a tree by the way it felt to touch, or the sound that it made.
So then, what about if we could not feel, and we could not hear. Then what would that tree become?
And what if there are more “senses” that we do not know about, senses that we don’t have the instruments to perceive? For example, what if we could “see” X-rays, or some other thing that provided a different way of interpreting the world around us – suddenly everything would be defined differently.
So in summary, I think it’s important to appreciate that the way in which we see the world is just one small part of it – we see the light reflecting off of objects, we effectively feel vibrations on our ear drums as they are created by movement and so on. And that what we see, hear and feel does not encompass the world in all its facets but is just the limited way in which we are able to appreciate the world.